Many people share the dream of being their own boss: running a business as they see fit and having complete control over their destiny. But, being an entrepreneur is less about a dream of autonomy and freedom and more about having a clear vision and unwavering drive about a product or service.
“It requires an unshakable belief despite setbacks and difficulties, and the willingness to work tirelessly,” shares BG Capital Group founder Bobby Genovese, who, at age 25 founded his first company in his native Ontario before establishing BG Capital Group Limited and BG Capital Management Corporation, both based in The Bahamas. His success over the past four decades creating multiple ventures across a spectrum of industries has been a testament to that entrepreneurial formula.
“The key to everything, whether in business or in life, is having a passion and a vision. With those two things, nothing can stand in your way.”
He recently sat down with us to talk about his success as an entrepreneur, his involvement with numerous charities and what he’s learned from both.
Q: You grew up in a rural area of Ontario, Canada. What valuable lessons did you learn and how did those lessons prepare you for your professional journey?
Bobby Genovese: That’s correct. I grew up in Cookstown, just north of Toronto where my family lived in a 1930s farmhouse on over 100 acres of land. As a teenager I was already an accomplished equestrian and spent most of my time working at horse stables or teaching riding lessons at a nearby equestrian club. I knew the value of hard work though I didn’t want to bale hay and teach forever. I was on the wrong side of the horse! It was then that I began envisioning where I wanted to go in life, and began to follow the people who owned the horses.
Q: Every entrepreneur needs a strong support system and network if they are to be successful. How invaluable has networking been for you?
Bobby Genovese: Incredibly so. I have always had a natural curiosity about people from across a spectrum of industries, which has made me a natural networker. It’s not something I think about, rather, I am fascinated by what others create, how they build on their vision and execute their ideas by working with others who share that goal. In that sense, you have an enterprise where everyone wins — from the CEOs whose companies I take public and make successful to the team that works with me in pursuit of those wins. The better they do, the better everybody does. After all, your greatest strength as an entrepreneur is the people who surround you. In order to succeed in business or in life, for that matter, it is vital to embrace others, to understand what makes them tick and where they came from.
Q: You have been a long time proponent of using your platform and success to help others. Which charities are you most passionate about supporting and how has your involvement encouraged other entrepreneurs to do the same?
Bobby Genovese: I have been actively involved with the SickKids Foundation and their annual Car and Boat Rallies since 2007, which have raised more than $25 million for Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. Being a father I can’t think of a more important initiative to support as my many friends and colleagues who have enthusiastically joined me agree.
Through our fundraising we help provide critical resources and support for their pediatric cancer initiatives, from research and treatment to practical advancements like chemotherapy backpacks that free young patients from confining hospital stays.
I’ve also been a long time supporter of the Vancouver-based Face the World Foundation, which is dedicated to helping Vancouver’s less fortunate. Through grants, the organization offers financial support to local non-profit organizations whose services relieve poverty; provide medical, artistic or educational aid for children, assist with shelter, alleviate hunger, or those dealing with physical, mental or substance abuse.
Q: Your portfolio also includes entities like BG Signature that are mission-driven to create new experiences for others to enjoy that are rooted in preserving and enjoying nature habitats. Can you tell us specifically about BG Ocala Ranch, which you built in 2013?
Bobby Genovese: I love horses and nature in its purest form. It’s reminiscent of the Northern Ontario landscape where I grew up, and where miles of open fields and pastures gave me a sense of freedom and expansiveness to dream freely without distraction. I wanted to bring those two things together for others to experience — to come to our ranch and take time to see where that experience takes them.
It’s also a unique, luxury vacation destination that appeals to people who share my enthusiasm for horseback riding. Stepping onto the ranch feels like taking a step back in time when things were simpler and people connected to each other — and to nature. BG Ocala Ranch places guests in the midst of nature, where they can settle into ranch life, ride horses, go for a stroll and breathe fresh air.
Q: What are 5 things that being an entrepreneur has taught you about life?
- Be true to who you are. As Oscar Wilde said: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”
- Build a strong support network
- Love what you do because then it’s not work
- Nurture your businesses as if they were your children
- Take care of the environment
Q: What do you want your legacy to be?
Bobby Genovese: My hope is that I’ve made a lasting impression on the world and left behind something that improves people’s lives in some tangible way.